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Fitzmaurice steps down as film commissioner

Matthew Odam

Evan Fitzmaurice has stepped down as interim director of the Texas Film Commission, the American-Statesman learned Thursday. The governor's office, which oversees the commission, is seeking a replacement, a spokeswoman said.

Fitzmaurice, who took the reins at the film commission in 2010 in the wake of the departure of Bob Hudgins, has left the governor's office to practice law in Austin. His last day at the Texas Film Commission was June 29.

David Morales, general counsel for the governor's office, is acting as film commissioner until a replacement is found.

The film commissioner oversees the state's efforts to attract business and jobs to the state for film, television and advertising productions as well as video game development.

Fitzmaurice also oversaw the distribution of millions of dollars in tax incentives during a relatively smooth time in the governor's office.

The previous commissioner, Hudgins, who stepped down after being disciplined for sexual harassment, drew fire for other moves as well. In 2009, Hudgins drew national attention when he told producers of "Waco," which dealt with the Branch Davidian conflict, that they would not be eligible for tax incentives if they filmed the movie in Texas. Hudgins made the decision after reviewing the script.

Under the provisions of the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, financial incentives can be denied to productions that negatively portray the state.

Contact Matthew Odam at 912-5986.